• March 7, 2017



ATF&A is a rusty old car with a blink­ing light parked beside a high­way. The shiny dri­vers in shiny cars rush­ing past to Enter­tain­ment City will nev­er notice it.

Thor has been dri­ving ATF&A since 2011. At 10 dis­cus­sion ques­tions per fort­night­ly top­ic, this means that he has dreamed up some­thing over 3,000 ques­tions to date (and some­thing sim­i­lar for an Eng­lish as a Sec­ond Lan­guage mee­tup he hosts). He’s an old guy get­ting by on a safe­ty net age pen­sion, liv­ing in a rent­ed room in a for­got­ten city called Ade­laide. He should have too much time on his hands but some­how nev­er seems to have enough hours in the day. If you are in the mood to donate him a cup of tea some­time you can click the Pay­Pal but­ton.

ATF&A now exists in sev­er­al dis­guis­es, and had var­i­ous ear­lier names. The main forum is an excep­tion­al­ly unpop­u­lar mee­tup at https://www.meetup.com/activethinkers/ . This mee­tup has been chased from café to café by man­agers unhap­py to have a bunch of peo­ple hang­ing around for two hours for the price of a cup of cof­fee. For a while dur­ing Covid ATF&A also went on Zoom. The bunch of peo­ple itself has become tiny to van­ish­ing. Being philo­soph­i­cal about this expe­ri­ence, Thor has sort­ed the world into five lev­els of brain state:

  1. a) Hiber­nat­ing or zom­biefied
  2. b) Dis­tract­ed by any­thing that is not on TV or Tik­Tok.
  3. c) Opin­ion­at­ed
  4. d) Some­times able to actu­al­ly think about inter­est­ing ques­tions and hunt down evi­dence;
  5. e) Able to think up inter­est­ing ques­tions them­selves (a rare breed)

Since brain species (d), let alone (e) are so hard to find Thor has also begun to migrate ATF&A to its own blog at http://discussiontopics.thormay.net/  and Youtube chan­nel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfey9J42dwpdnTLF5aP5hZw . This will take quite a while. In the mean­time, any­one curi­ous can find an index of old top­ics & ques­tions on a lega­cy web­site at  http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/DiscussionTopics/DiscussionIndex.htm


Bio:  Thor May has been a researcher, lec­tur­er, teacher train­er and writer. Ear­lier he also had a wide vari­ety of oth­er jobs, from dock­yard labour­er to air­port dis­patch offi­cer to office work­er. Since 1976 he has taught in uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges in Aus­tralia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Chi­na (5 years) and South Korea (7 years). After walk­ing away from two ear­lier PhDs in lin­guis­tics, he final­ly wrote a point­less PhD on teach­ing pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, using 20 per­son­al­ly researched case stud­ies from 7 coun­tries. About 150 of his arti­cles and papers are avail­able in his online repos­i­to­ry at https://independent.academia.edu/ThoroldThorMay . A five min­ute video of his teach­ing is online at https://youtu.be/OmGVsC7OshA . In Ade­laide, Aus­tralia Thor now runs a mee­tup for new immi­grants, and anoth­er for crit­i­cal think­ing called Active Thinkers For & Again­st. He is a life­long dis­tance run­ner, and also a strug­gling stu­dent of Man­dar­in Chi­ne­se. Thor can be con­tact­ed at thormay@yahoo.com .

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